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City to Redesign Astoria Park's Shore Boulevard By End of Summer: Officials

By Jeanmarie Evelly | February 18, 2016 11:24am
 Shore Boulevard will soon become and one-way street.
Shore Boulevard will soon become and one-way street.
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DNAinfo/Jeanmarie Evelly

DITMARS — Shore Boulevard in Astoria Park will soon be a one-way street, now that the plan has earned final approval from the local community board.

Community Board 1 approved the DOT's proposal — presented last month — to modify the bike lanes and narrow the traffic space on the waterfront roadway, as well as on stretches of 20th Avenue and Hoyt Avenue North near Astoria Park.

The changes come after months of discussion about ways to improve pedestrian safety in and around the park, including a heated debate over whether Shore Boulevard should be closed to cars entirely.

Under the plan approved by CB1 on Tuesday night, the northbound traffic lane for a portion of Shore Boulevard that runs through the park from Ditmars Boulevard to Astoria Park South will be converted into a two-way bike lane, turning the stretch into a southbound-only road.

It will also move the bike lanes into the actual street and off the adjacent sidewalk, where bikers are currently sharing the path with pedestrians

The narrower street will slow speeding drivers on the waterfront roadway, but the parking lane on the waterfront side will remain, according to the DOT.

Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas, who'd proposed banning cars entirely on Shore Boulevard last summer, called the plan a good compromise.

"I am pleased that by working together we reached a compromise on Shore Boulevard that calms speeding and dangerous driving and preserves vehicle access to the waterfront," she said in a statement.

The DOT will also make changes to a stretch that runs alongside the park and a set of sports fields on 20th Avenue from Shore Boulevard to 37th Street, where drivers tend to speed.

The bike lanes on the street — currently located between the parking and traffic lanes on either side of the street — will be changed into a two-way protected bike path on just the north side of the road.

The width of the traffic lane there will be reduced by two feet, which is meant to discourage speeding, according to the plan.

A similar change will be made along Hoyt Avenue North on the other side of Astoria Park, between 27th and 19th streets.

Along that stretch, the DOT plans to move the existing single bike lane on the north side of the street and make it a two-way protected bike lane on the south side instead. The number of traffic lanes will also be reduced from three to two, according to the plan.

City Councilman Costa Constantinides, who started a petition this summer for traffic changes around the park, praised the plan.

"The updates will bring greater traffic sanity to the streets around the jewel of our neighborhood, Astoria Park," he said in a statement.

The changes will go into effect by the end of this summer, officials said.